It was just a few years ago that Frank Edgerly was the head coach at Red Bank Catholic. Now Edgerly has a slightly different job title as a pro scout with the New England Patriots.
Last week he came back to his roots as a volunteer with the football camp at . "We had our whole family here," he said of the Jersey Shore area."
Since leaving RBC Edgerly has seen a lot at the professional level and was glad to share that knowledge with the young players including going with the team to the Super Bowl this year.
"Everything minus the outcome was a great experience," he said. "That's what you work hard for to get a chance to play for that game. Unfortunately we came up a little short but hopefully we can fix a couple things and get back to it."
Having grown up a fan of John Elway when he was on the field for the Denver Broncos, Edgerly said he was glad to work with the young players who came from all around the area. "As you advance in football the emphasis on the game changes," he said. "People are saying it evolves into more of a business, which it does. The pressure to win is larger and larger."
When it comes to the players like the ones at the camp, the former coach said there are equally as important lessons to be taught. "The great thing about coming down here is it's pure," he said. "They're here for the right reasons. For me to be around that, it's refreshing."
Over the course of the four-day program the campers learned different skills involved in playing the game and sharpened their skills. Many play in Pop Warner or American Youth Football and can apply what they learn to their regular season.
One of those players was 12-year-old Matt Graybush who plays tight end in the AYF. The soon to be 7th-grader said he had fun learning from someone who has the chance to work with the likes of Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady on a daily basis. "It's great," he said. "I've done this camp, this is my fourth year and seeing all these people is just great."
The opportunity to learn from professionals comes thanks in large part due to the efforts of Howell native and NFL veteran Bill Hill. Having played for the Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns and other professional teams Hill has had the chance to work with and meet people who have come to his hometown to help at the camp.
Hill said he is glad the campers get such a unique experience. "I just think it's great to give back," he said. Hill has coached everything from Pop Warner to high school and is working at the college level but said no matter where he goes the lessons are always the same. "There's no difference to how you run a route," he said. "There's only one way to do it."
Sgt. Chris Hill, who runs the Howell PAL said he is glad is cousin can be a part of the camp and help make it a special time for those in attendance. "It gives the kids an opportutnity to realize that they can get there too, and that it's not beyond their reach," he said. "But it's going to take hard work and determination to get there."
The camp has been held for close to a decade and Hill said each year the campers get a good experience to learn not only about the game but life lessons as well. "Where else is any kid going to go to see professional athletes and coaches and get fed lunch at the same time.
With campers from not only Howell but also Freehold and Lakewood Hill said the camaraderie the form is as important as the plays they learn. "One day they're going to play against each other and say I remember you from this."